EOP Architects has pulled out of the CentrePointe project in downtown Lexington.
The move by the Lexington architecture company comes less than three weeks after architect Rick Ekhoff of EOP told Lexington's courthouse design review board that CentrePointe "brings aesthetic benefit to the city" and would be cost-effective and attractive.
A statement issued Tuesday by EOP said: "A week and a half ago and after much consideration, EOP regretfully made the decision to halt the firm's further involvement with the CentrePointe project. This decision was based upon a number of factors, all of which are fundamental to the firm's culture and design philosophy.
"The importance of the CentrePointe project to the future of Lexington is inimitable, and EOP sincerely hopes that its potential and opportunities will ultimately be realized."
The firm had no additional comment about its withdrawal from the project.
Developer Dudley Webb said Tuesday night that EOP had finished what it was hired to do. "I've never had a cross word ... with any of those guys," Webb said. "The engineers do the heavy lifting from here on out."
Webb said his company was "tweaking the criticisms" about the design that were raised at the Courthouse Area Design Review Board hearing. The next step, he said, is to file for an excavation permit and hold a ceremonial groundbreaking Oct. 14.
The Courthouse Area Design Review Board in August approved a new design for the $393.9 million project while reserving the right to have developers and architects adjust exterior details on its apartments. The CentrePointe project includes office space, a J.W. Marriott hotel, retailers and restaurants, including a Jeff Ruby's steakhouse.
Ground is scheduled to be broken in October, but the project has been subject to numerous delays since it was first announced in 2008.
The project includes the block bounded by Vine, Main, Limestone and Upper streets.